Scott Morrison Threatened To Sue ‘The Project’. Now They’ve Served Him Some Facts
"If anything paints a better picture of Australian politics today, it is this: After Waleed made that genuine, thoughtful and reasoned contribution on Friday night, the Prime Minister of our country threatened to sue."
The night of the Christchurch attacks, Waleed Aly of The Project made an impassioned call for unity, and an end to the racist dog-whistling that had emboldened the shooter. Hours later, rumours began to swirl that the Prime Minister Scott Morrison was planning to sue Channel 10 for hosting the comments.
As part of his televised monologue, Aly had referenced a long-standing 2011 report that Morrison had urged the coalition to seek votes by stirring up anti-Muslim sentiment. That report, which was confirmed by multiple sources who have never retracted their statements, has hounded Morrison for many years of his career — but Aly’s reference to it was apparently too much, and the Prime Minister began threatening legal action.
Not only that, he also began referencing the report in press conferences, where he called it a “disgraceful smear and an appalling lie.”
TND political editor @samanthamaiden pressed Scott Morrison on reports he called for the Liberal Party to capitalise upon anti-Muslim sentiment at a 2010 shadow cabinet meeting.
Here's his response. #auspol pic.twitter.com/d82EvZcfcQ
— The New Daily (@TheNewDailyAu) March 20, 2019
Now, Hamish McDonald of The Project has responded to Morrison’s comments, and his legal threats.
“The Prime Minister says he wants the truth, so here are some facts,” begins McDonald, filling in for Aly, who is currently overseas.
“Now, on Friday night in the wake of the most horrific events in Christchurch, our colleague Waleed referenced that report in a powerful personal reflection on what had just occurred. And another fact: later that night, the Prime Minister’s office, in a furious exchange, said that Waleed’s comments were defamatory.”
“Now, we offered Mr. Morrison the opportunity to respond, live on this desk, when he was due to appear on this program on Monday. Not only did he decline, but his media team pulled him out of the scheduled appearance altogether.
“In truth, no-one but those in that room can say for sure what was said. And there does seem to be two very distinct versions.
“But we as a country know what our leaders have been saying about refugees and immigrants and Muslims for well over a decade.
“If anything paints a better picture of Australian politics today, it is this: After Waleed made that genuine, thoughtful and reasoned contribution on Friday night, a plea for our community to come together, the Prime Minister of our country threatened to sue.
“In contrast, New Zealand’s Prime Minister invited Waleed to her country to sit down for an interview.”
It is perhaps no coincidence that this highly public spat is being conducted a short two months ahead of an election.